The Rise And Rise Of Lazarus

14 November 2017 | Chris Barsby

Money talks.

And it talks all languages.

Champion pacer Lazarus is no exception to this theory as he became the latest dual winner of the Gr.1 $800,000 Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup at Addington today (Tuesday).

Starting as the shortest priced favourite in the races history, punters couldn't get enough of the handsome five-year-old stallion in lead-up to the biggest event on the New Zealand racing calendar.

Even today, on race day, punters queued to back the hottest pacing talent in this part of the world and like most with that compelling pulling power, most if not all, were their today to witness a champion in action.

By jump time, Lazarus started at odds of $1.40 – almost unthinkable!

But there was no cause for concern, a clean getaway had the Mark Purdon trained and driven superstar in front within 400m before turning the 3200m stand start feature into a procession.

As it stood, Lazarus had never been beaten once he led and that record remained intact after racing clear in the home straight to score by 5 3/4 lengths from Jacks Legend while the Australian trained Tiger Tara filled third despite breaking with 800m remaining.

His winning time was 3:55.0 – a mile rate of 1:58.1.

"The start was important and he made a great go of it today,” Purdon said.

“He's a pleasure to train. There's no fuss about him, nothing smart about him, he's just one of the boys in the barn and just a lovely horse.” He added.

It was Purdon's fifth Cup success - Il Vicolo (1995/96), Adore Me (2014) while Lazarus has now recorded back to back victories.

And just like Il Vicolo, Lazarus recorded a slower time in winning his second Cup compared to his maiden triumph.

Lazarus now joins Monkey King, Flashing Red, Just An Excuse, Il Vicolo, Lordship, Highland Fling, Haughty, Lucky Jack, Harold Logan, Peter Bingen, Ahuriri, Reta Peter and Wildwood Junior as dual Cup winners.

And given his current invincibility, he looms as a fantastic chance of joining triple winners Terror To Love, False Step and Indianapolis next year.

With 31 wins from 36 starts and over $2.6 million in the bank, there's reason to believe the best is still to come from this pacing phenomenon and his record breaking mentor.

While the Purdon name is synonymous, Mark has easily become the most celebrated in the Cup while father Roy and brother Barry have four victories.

Today, a rare feat was achieved between Mark and Barry; a one/two result with Lazarus defeating Jacks Legend.

Back in 1996, the brothers finished first and third with Il Vicolo (Mark) winning while Surprise Package (Barry) filled a minor placing.

With Ricky May (7) and Cec Devine (6) the most decorated reinsmen in Cup history, Purdon has both gentlemen firmly in his sights with his tally of five.

While the efforts of Lazarus and Purdon should be lauded, the deeds of super sire Bettors Delight shouldn’t go unnoticed either.

It was a one-two-three finish for the Cams Card Shark stallion while it was his 4th straight Cup winner.

The next leg of the Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit now heads west, the $1.8 million TABTOUCH Inter Dominion series in Perth starting on November 24.

And with two legs of the 2017/18 series locked and loaded, the two pacers equal at the top of the leaderboard with 100 points each are Lennytheshark and Lazarus and now they’re set to square off once again at Gloucester Park.

The last time they met, Lennytheshark proved victorious when successful in the Miracle Mile back in February.

It also coincides as the last time that Lazarus tasted defeat……nine starts ago!

But who will do the talking this time around? Maybe the money will do the talking again?